General Motors is standing by its estimate that a faulty ignition switch which triggered a massive recall was responsible for 13 deaths after a new report says the actual number is several times that.
Reuters said in an analysis published Tuesday that the number of deaths tied to the problem is at least 74. Reuters calculated its number using the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a government database that contains accident reports from U.S. law enforcement agencies. GM, however, says it uses more detailed information when investigating accidents.
"GM arrived at the figure of 13 fatalities by assessing the detailed information in the claims data available to us," the company said in its defense, CNN reports.
GM and Reuters both looked at accidents wherein drivers or passengers in the front seat were killed in head-on collisions with one other vehicle during which the GM vehicle's airbag did not deploy.
GM recalled 2.4 million vehicles over the past several months after it was discovered that a problem with their ignition switch caused cars to shut off while driving, disabling power steering, anti-lock brakes and airbags.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did not comment on the Reuters figures, but it previously said the final number of deaths will likely be higher than 13.